How Are the Results Listed?
Understanding a little about how your results are listed may help you control which records are listed first.
Order of Search Results
The list of records returned is arranged in order of relevance to the
words you enter. Records listed first are most likely to be relevant to your search. When two or more words are entered in the search box, the search engine returns the results
in four groups. The exact matches group is listed first, while
the fourth group will contain the least relevant
records. Within each group records likely to be more relevant are listed
- Enter the words in the order in which they are most likely to occur in
the text or bibliographic records being searched.
For example, in the California As I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900 collection, entering the terms overland journey will will produce 25 exact matches, which will be placed at the top of your return list. Entering the same words in a different order, journey overland, will produce no exact matches. All of the records found in the first case will still be found (38 total hits), but they will be ordered differently.
- Records receive a higher ranking, and will appear higher in the results list, when they contain:
- more of your search terms
- repeated search terms
- search terms that occur near each other
- Common words are given less weight than those that occur infrequently in the body of text.
The Library of Congress takes the features the search engine provides and customizes them for enhanced retrieval in response to user feedback.
- Search terms will be highlighted in bold in the retrieved bibliographic records or text based documents. (Although the most common words like and, the, and of will be ignored in finding the document, those terms will be highlighted in the bibliographic records that are returned. These common words will not be highlighted in the full text of items returned.)
- When a full text retrieves a long document, a BEST MATCH link will appear
in the header and footer links for that item. Click on the Best Match button to jump to the
portion of text within that document (or document part) which was given the highest
relevancy rating. Your search terms will very likely be repeated or clumped close together
in this passage of text.
NOTE: The search results list you receive will remain in a temporary file on our server for at least 1 hour after your last access. After that time, it will be erased.
Note: The search engine used on the American Memory database is currently licensed from Chiliad Publishing Incorporated.
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